Task Palatability, But Not Structure, Differentially Influences Mother–Child Interactions in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Children With and Without Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Authors


Chaya B. Gopin, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, 270-05 76th Avenue, New Hyde Park, NY 11040, USA. E-mail: cgopin@nshs.edu

Abstract

Objective

To assess whether preschoolers with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) behave differently during mother–child interaction tasks as a function of task palatability and whether differences are associated with the presence of comorbid oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).

Methods

Typically developing, ADHD, and ADHD + ODD children and their mothers participated in digitally recorded interactions, which included three 5-min tasks, differing in level of palatability/engagement and parental structure (Free Play Task = highly engaging, not structured; Paper and Pencil Task = not engaging, highly structured; Duplo Task = highly engaging, structured).

Results

Mixed ANOVAs revealed that positive engagement, but not structure, differentially improved the behaviour of children with ADHD + ODD.

Discussion

Although ADHD and ODD are associated with more negative behaviours during the mother–child interaction, those with comorbid ADHD + ODD exhibit differentially greater impairment during relatively boring tasks. Implications for treatment are discussed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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